Last week the weather was so hot and my soil was bone dry. The greenhouse reached temperatures of 45 degrees celcius and I had to quickly put up some greenhouse shading….this week it has rained nearly everyday and there has been floods in the County…what a difference in just one week!
Up until the last few years June was always sunny and warm, but in recent years we have had record rainfalls recorded in June and July…..is this climate change or just the seasons changing?
This week in my kitchen garden:
This week in the garden I picked our first strawberry of the year….and it was delicious (though I did have to share it with my daughters):
I also picked our first courgette this morning….we always get excited when I pick the first courgette of the year (even though we know that soon we will be groaning when they are coming thick and fast in a few weeks time).
I have one last spring cabbage to pick and eat this week….the cabbages have been in the ground since last year so I always find it quite sad when I pick the last one, however next week I will be planting my curly kale in this area:
Also I will now start to use some of the onions that I am growing….I planted them close together so I could use some of them as spring onions. The onions that I leave will then develop into full sized onions:
The rest of the garden is growing well and my broad beans are nearly ready to pick as well:
My dwarf pea plants are ladened with pea pods ready to fatten up…
And I have currants, gooseberries, blueberries and a few plums growing (I can’t wait to taste these when they are ready)…..
My cherry tomatoes are flowering well in my hanging baskets….so hopefully I will soon have some tiny tomatoes growing. As soon as I see mini tomatoes growing on my plants I start to feed them once a week with a high potash feed (e.g comfrey which is perfect for tomatoes):
I have my first flower on one of my potato plants, however I didn’t get around to earthing my potatoes up this year and I think it is too late now as I can hardly see the soil around them. It will be interesting to see how much my yield is affected….my old friend at my old allotment site never earthed her potatoes up and she said it never affected her yield….we will see.
The greenhouse is doing well too. I have cucumbers and tomatoes growing and I spotted my first peppers growing too this week:
Over the last week in the garden I planted my sweetcorn and pumpkins. I sowed the sweetcorn in April in newspaper pots and they have grown well, though I am a little late planting them out. In the space where I needed to plant my sweetcorn was my ‘lollo rossa’ lettuce, which has been providing us with an outstanding amount of cut and come again salad leaves this year and I just couldn’t bring myself to pull them up until now.
I planted the sweetcorn and then I planted three pumpkin plants in between them. The pumpkins will hopefully produce small, palm sized fruit that I can roast, but as I have never grown this variety before I am not sure how big the foliage will grow….so it’s a bit of a trial:
I have also planted some leeks this week, but unfortunately I did have to buy them from my local nursery as I had somehow missed watering mine when the weather was really hot and managed to kill my lovely seedlings – which I was gutted about!…but at least it proves I’m human.
As normal I trimmed the roots to make them easier to plant and then pushed each leek seedling into a four inch deep hole made with my dibber and then I just watered the hole….don’t worry if you can still see the roots as the soil will fill around the leeks as they grow helping to blanch the stems:
I then covered them with environmesh as last year I lost a lot of leeks to the allium leaf miner:
Two weeks ago I sowed some more radish. I decided to have a go at planting them in a piece of guttering as I have read this works well. I didn’t want the slugs to eat them so I made a ‘moat’ around the guttering in the hope the slugs won’t swim (this was a tip I learnt at the ECO House Garden Forum a few years ago before the ECO house shut)….
…..And this week the seeds have emerged and so far there has been no slug damage:
I have also continued to sow coriander, for my windowsill, spring onions and lettuce over the last couple of weeks and I have been surprised at how quickly they have germinated:
And finally this week in the garden I have finished planting my remaining bedding plants (I couldn’t plant them before in this area as my wall flowers were still flowering):
Hopefully they will grow well now and flower soon.
This week in the home:
This week I decided to give the basil on my windowsill a good haircut as it was getting too big. I placed all the leaves in a paperbag and hung them in a warm place to dry. In a few weeks I will pass the dried leaves through a seive to remove any stalks and put the dried leaves in a jar to use over the winter:
This week I also started some elderflower champagne…. as there are plenty of elderflowers around on our local park. I have never made it before and I chose to use a recipe they gave on ‘River Cottage Bites‘. I won’t tell you how I made it yet as I want to make sure it works…..but it smells wonderful at the moment.
Over the week I have also been making large batches of food to freeze. I made pasta / pizza sauces and spaghetti bolognaises and a big pot of soup to freeze in portions:
I have also been trying very hard to use the herbs that I have been growing….
I have used them in meals such as omelettes etc. and sprinkled them over our roasted vegetables before I cook them. I have also been chopping a bit of mint to sprinkle over our vegetables when I serve them.
It is so nice to have fresh herbs to use, especially as the herbs I grew last year in a different place were a disaster due to our local squirrel population digging them up every five minutes at the end of my garden!
This week I made some sweet potato wedges and they were really nice. I made them in exactly the same way as I make normal potato wedges, except I only cooked them for 30 minutes on Gas 6 / 200C.
(The normal potato wedges recipe I used can be found here).
I cooked the sweet potato wedges to accompany a homemade pizza, which I served with homemade coldslaw and salad. My sister gave me the idea of making the base with half strong wholewheat flour and half strong white flour to make it a bit healthier and she was right as it turned out really, really nice.
I have written the recipe I used in my breadmaker below…..it makes two large pizza’s so I froze half of the dough for another time.
Wholemeal Pizza Dough Recipe
2 tablespoons Olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
340g strong white flour
290g strong wholemeal flour (plus some for rolling out)
2 teaspoons yeast
Put all the ingredients into your breadmaker and put it on a ‘pizza dough’ setting:
Split the dough in half and put half in your freezer for another day:
Roll out the dough and and place it in a greased pizza pan:
Leave to rise for 30 mins in a warm place with a clean tea towel over it.
Spread a pizza sauce over the base. You can find my pizza sauce recipe here (it’s the same recipe as pasta sauce).
Top the pizza sauce with whatever topping you choose and then mozzerella cheese, either grated or sliced.
Sprinkle with basil and organo to give it an italian pizza taste and cook for 14 minutes on gas mark 6 / 400F / 204C.
Well that’s it for today.
Thank you for reading my blog today. I will be back next Friday as usual.
Have a great weekend!